International Art Report | 2000
Published: June 2009
By Leslie Camhi
Fashion, Exhibitions, Theater, Opera
The Art of Fashion
London Imperfect Beauty Victoria and Albert Museum (through March 18). Examining the process behind the glitz of contemporary fashion photography, this show goes directly to the source. Find out what really went into Prada's recent ad campaigns, Corinne Day's controversial "heroin chic," and the transformation of Kate Moss into, well, Kate Moss. Art directors and stylists finally get their due.
William Blake Tate Britain (Nov. 9–Feb. 11). In a major show of some 400 works, the Tate takes a new look at the visionary British poet and artist (1757–1827), grouping his work into four thematic sections. Engravings, manuscripts, illuminated books–and even a reconstruction of the artist's studio–tell of Blake's relation to poet John Milton and his fascination with medieval art, as well as his interest in the radical politics of the French Revolution.
Paris Édouard Manet: The still-life paintings Musée d'Orsay (Oct. 9–Jan. 7). Most famous for his bold picnic on the grass and his daring Olympia, Manet seems an unlikely candidate for an exhibition of still lifes. Yet he made a surprising number of forays into the genre, all of which are assembled here.
China The Glory of the Emperors Petit Palais (Nov. 2–Jan. 28). A collection of more than 200 works discovered in the past 25 years, this show casts a whole new light on the art of China's first dynasties. Look for a set of terra-cotta soldiers, each distinctly individual.
Rome Sandro Botticelli and the Divine Comedy Scudiere Papali al Quirinale (through Dec. 3). The Renaissance master whose name is most closely associated with angels took on heaven and hell in 92 drawings that illustrate Dante's Divine Comedy. Selections from Dante's original manuscripts accompany Botticelli's work.
New York Giorgio Armani Guggenheim Museum (Oct. 20–Jan. 17). The proposed Chanel show came a cropper at the Met, but Issey Miyake's pleats were a hit at the Fondation Cartier in Paris last year. So why shouldn't the Guggenheim mount its own ode to a world-famous designer?Certainly Armani's tailoring is sublime. And with theatrical genius Robert Wilson in charge of the installation, it just might hang together.
Edward Steichen Whitney Museum of American Art (Oct. 5–Feb. 4). Steichen's photographs range from portraits (Louise Brooks, Winston Churchill) and fashion shots for Vogue to documentary images of both world wars. His first major retrospective in 40 years also showcases his paintings, the textiles he designed, and his role as a curator of exhibitions, among them the seminal 1955 photographic survey The Family of Man at the Museum of Modern Art.
The Golden Deer of Eurasia Metropolitan Museum of Art (Oct. 12–Feb. 4). Known as the Filippovka find, a vast array of animals, ornately carved and overlaid in gold, was excavated in the late 1980's from a single site on the southern Russian steppes. These 100 objects, made by Eurasian nomads in the first millennium b.c., will be joined by 85 works from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
Ruskin's Italy, Ruskin's England Morgan Library (through Jan. 7). The British critic's diaries, manuscripts, drawings, and sketchbooks reveal a staggering precocity, a tormented personal life, and the sensibility of one of the 19th century's most influential thinkers on art.
Washington, D.C. Art Nouveau National Gallery (Oct. 8–Jan. 28). Organized in collaboration with London's V&A, where it premiered last spring, this show celebrates one of the most innovative aesthetic movements of the 20th century. One section of this American version is devoted to the decorative arts exposition held in Turin in 1902, another to the designs of Chicago native Louis Sullivan.
Pittsburgh The Arts of Jean Cocteau Andy Warhol Museum (Nov. 5–Jan. 28). Like Warhol himself, Cocteau embraced a breadth of styles in art and life. Best known for his novels and plays, he also designed stage sets (for Stravinsky, among others), made numerous films including a Beat version of the Greek myth Orpheus, and befriended Picasso, Chaplin, and the Prince of Wales. Fittingly, the exhibition is multifaceted, too, with artworks, ephemera, and manuscripts, as well as a film program and several performances of Cocteau's plays.
Louisville Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era Speed Art Museum (through Nov. 12). McCartney may have started out just "being there," but the former Linda Eastman had a remarkable talent for snapping casually dramatic pictures that captured the rocking spirit of the sixties. Images of Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan, and, of course, the Beatles abound.
Atlanta Chorus of Light: Photographs from the Sir Elton John Collection High Museum of Art (Nov. 4–Jan. 28). Celebrity also plays a role in Elton John's personal trove of works by more than 100 photographers, who range from early American innovators Berenice Abbott and Edward Weston to enfants terribles Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano. Installed salon-style (as they are in the star's residences), these pictures prove that the titled pop singer has not only a voice but an eye.
Houston Romantics, Realists, Revolutionaries: 19th-Century German Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Oct. 22–Jan. 28). Works by Caspar David Friedrich, Arnold Böcklin, Lovis Corinth, and a slew of less familiar names represent the development of German painting from the Nazarenes, who fantasized about 15th-century Italian style (before the Pre-Raphaelites in England did the same) to the German Impressionists, Symbolists, and Secessionists.
Los Angeles Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900–2000 Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Oct. 22–Feb. 25). With some 800 works of art – and hundreds more movie posters, magazines, postcards, orange-crate labels, and other memorabilia – this show explores how the arts shaped popular images of the Golden State.
Paul Mccarthy MOCA at the Geffen Contemporary (Nov. 12–Jan. 21). Famous for his regressive performances with the psychically charged stuff of childhood – e.g. ketchup – California-based artist Paul McCarthy (not to be confused with Paul McCartney) is one of the most influential creators around. He's also among the least acknowledged.The first American survey of his bad-boy art rectifies that. With more than 100 of his outrageous sculptures, elaborate video installations, performance photographs, and nasty drawings, it aims at pinning down his wayward 30-year evolution, as well as his impact on generations of L.A. artists.
San Francisco Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Oct. 7–Jan. 15). The largest show since the museum's inception comprises the work of 140 blue-chip artists, among them Giacometti, Jackson Pollock, and Richard Diebenkorn. All were amassed by preeminent Bay Area husband-and-wife team Harry W. ("Hunk") and Mary Margaret ("Moo") Anderson.
- Photographs commissioned by the Countess de Castiglione, documenting
the 19th-century beauty's public and private fantasies, at the metropolitan museum of art, New York, through Dec. 31.
- Retrospective of Abstract Expressionist painter Lee Krasner at the Brooklyn Museum
of Art, New York, Oct. 6–Jan. 7. Sol LeWitt: A Retrospective at the whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Dec. 7–Feb. 25.
To the Max With the opening of contemporary art museums everywhere you turn, more and more masterworks of postwar American art are showing up in unlikely places on the Continent. Now add northern Italy to the itinerary. Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo has donated his 18th-century villa in Varese, along with a spectacular collection of 2,500 artworks, to the Italian Environmental Fund, which spent $4 million to restore the villa. The gallery's star attractions were amassed by Panza over the past five decades: brash assemblages by Robert Rauschenberg and Claes Oldenburg; the Minimalist boxes of Carl Andre and Donald Judd; and the sublime installations of Dan Flavin and James Turrell. The ticket office, designed by architect Gae Aulenti, adds an Italian touch.
by Design The Vitra Museum, housed in a spectacular Frank Gehry–designed building in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany (58 Kopenhagener Str.; 49-30/473-7770), has brought together one of the world's most extensive collections of modern furniture. Now there's a new Berlin branch. Retrospectives devoted to Luis Barragán and Mies van der Rohe are in the pipeline.
In New York, "Masterpieces from the Vitra Design Museum" is currently on view at the Cooper-Hewitt (Oct. 10–Feb. 4). –Michael Z. Wise
In The Mood For Love
Almost nothing remains of the Hong Kong in which director Kar-Wai Wong spent his childhood. So he went to Bangkok to shoot his latest film, In the Mood for Love. Opening next month, it's a romance set in 1962 Hong Kong's exiled Shanghai community. Best known stateside for Chungking Express, a fast-paced comedy that takes place on one Hong Kong street corner, Kar-Wai Wong has an ultra-contemporary sensibility that seems tailor-made for capturing his hometown's perpetual motion. But In the Mood for Love, in which the curve of a woman's neck or a man's downcast eyes speak volumes, is laced with melancholy grandeur. Of the final scenes, shot at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the director says: "The temple is a great museum – of jealousy, passion, and regret." –Leslie Camhi
- Retrospective of American photographer Walker Evans at the Museum
of Fine Arts, Houston, Dec. 17–Mar. 4.
- From Renoir to Picasso at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Nov. 12–Feb. 25.
In Search of Marcel Proust
By adapting Marcel Proust's semiautobiographical opus for the stage, London theater legend Harold Pinter joins this year's parade of Proust devotées. There's Jean-Yves Tadié's biography Marcel Proust: A Life; Roger Shattuck's Proust's Way, A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time; Raoul Ruiz's film, Time Regained; and – as if reading Proust's 4,000-.
London The Car Man Old Vic. ; 44-207/369-1722. Matthew Bourne's Tony-winning Swan Lake caused a sensation in 1998 by casting only men to play the swans. Here, Bourne takes the opera Carmen ("Car Man," get it?), sets it in an auto-repair shop, and beefs up the plot with elements of film noir and 1960's French new-wave cinema.
The Mikado Savoy Theatre, through Jan. 13; 44-207/836-8888. In Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular operetta, the Japanese setting is merely a smoke screen for a witty parody of English mores. Nanki-Poo, the Mikado's son, agrees to be beheaded if he can be married to Yum-Yum for one month. The new production marks the operetta's return to the Savoy, where it premiered in 1885.
My Zinc Bed Royal Court Jerwood Theatre, through Oct. 28; 44-207/565-5000. David Hare directs the premiere of his own play in which a young poet, hired by an entrepreneur, pushes his luck by falling in love with his new boss's wife, played by Julia Ormond.
Napoleon Shaftesbury theatre, opens Oct. 17; 44-207/379-5399. The diminutive leader's life gets the song-and-dance treatment – from his first waltz with a young Josephine to the battle of Waterloo. Directed by the iconoclastic–and often controversial–Francesca Zambello.
New York The Seussical Richard Rodgers Theatre, opens Nov. 9; 212/307-4107. A musical based on the books of Dr. Seuss, with songs by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, whose Ragtime score earned them a 1998 Tony.
The Last of the Thorntons Signature Theatre Co., Dec. 3–31; 212/244-7529. This new play by dramatist and screenwriter Horton Foote (The Trip to Bountiful) stars Oscar-winning actress Estelle Parsons as the only surviving member of a powerful Texas clan looking back at her family's checkered history.
Denver Tantalus Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 21–Dec. 2; 303/893-4100. Named for the Greek figure who betrayed the gods and was punished with eternal hunger and thirst, this 10-play cycle retraces the events of the Trojan War. The production is directed by Sir Peter Hall (of the Royal Shakespeare Company), who gives a surprisingly contemporary twist to ancient myths. Tantalus's fate hangs over the entire play, as mortals like him (and us) wrestle with what remains just out of reach.
- Russian women artists of the early 20th century in Amazons of the Avant-Garde at the guggenheim, New York, through Jan. 7.
- Raphael Drawings from Windsor Castle at the getty Museum, L.A., Oct. 31–Jan. 7.
Hitting the High Notes When the Palais Garnier opened in Paris in 1875, it stood as a glittering monument to the Second Empire. The Beaux-Arts theater took 14 years to build and cost a staggering 35 million francs. Today, the Garnier is in the midst of an ambitious restoration project. The façade is once again bright and shiny, the loggia all colored marble and mosaics. Next month the voice of soprano Natalie Dessay will soar to the heights of the Chagall ceiling in Mozart's fanciful opera The Magic Flute (Nov. 27–Jan. 6). And just in time for Christmas comes George Balanchine's three-part ballet Jewels, with sparkling sets and costumes by couturier Christian Lacroix (Dec. 15–31). Place de l'Opéra, 33-8/36-69-78-68.
London Tristan and Isolde Royal Opera, Oct. 14–Nov. 9; 44-207/304-4000. After decades of absence from the world's stages, Wagner's monument to transcendent love was revived last season in productions by opera companies from Chicago to Honolulu. Now it's Covent Garden's turn. Royal Opera music director Bernard Haitink leads American tenor Jon Frederic West and German soprano Gabriele Schnaut in a new staging, directed, designed, and lit by Herbert Wernicke.
San Francisco Dead Man Walking San Francisco Opera, Oct. 7–28; 415/864-3330. Joe Mantello directs the world premiere of American composer Jake Heggie's opera, based on the searing true story by Sister Helen Prejean, with a libretto by Terrence McNally. Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham stars as Prejean and the young baritone John Packard takes on the role of death-row inmate Joe de Rocher in this modern tale of crime and punishment.
New York Fidelio Metropolitan Opera, Oct. 13–Jan. 11; 212/362-6000. Beethoven's sole opera is so seldom staged that its title served as the secret password to the pleasure palace in Stanley Kubrick's final film. The Met makes good with a new production of the 19th-century composer's ode to revolutionary ideals.
The Love for Three Oranges New York City Opera, Oct. 17–Nov. 5; 212/870-5570. Prokofiev's delicious opera based on the Carlo Gozzi comedy (melancholy prince plus humorless witch equals fruitful farce) is rarely produced. But it's a must-see, and next March, across the Lincoln Center plaza, the Met produces Prokofiev's The Gambler, based on the Dostoyevsky novel.
Chicago The Queen of Spades Lyric Opera of Chicago, through Oct. 27; 312/332-2244. The setting: imperial Russia. The subject: passionate love and obsessive gambling. The twist: retribution from beyond the grave. Russian tenor Vladimir Galouzine and Swedish soprano Katarina Dalayman are the fated protagonists in Tchaikovsky's hyper-romantic tragic opera, after the Pushkin novella. Versatile mezzo-soprano Felicity Palmer holds the trump card as the formidable countess.
HoustonKatya Kabanova Houston Grand Opera, Oct. 27–Nov. 12; 713/227-2787. More than one storm is brewing along the banks of the Volga. Catherine Malfitano, one of today's great singing actresses, embodies the role of Janacek's heroine, torn between bourgeois duty to her husband and forbidden passion for her lover. Emma Bovary would have understood. –Mario R. Mercado
- Van Gogh portraits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art,
Oct. 22–Jan. 14.
- Jacob Lawrence at the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Oct. 7–Dec. 3.